April 4, 2012

60% of nurses report being subjected to abuse when lone working working in the community

A new survey, commissioned by the RCN in 2011 shows that 60% of nurses surveyed (nearly 800 RCN members) have been subjected to abuse in the past two years while working in the community.

Other key findings include:

  • Six in ten (60%) nurses had suffered verbal abuse in the last two years
  • One in ten (11%) had been victims of physical abuse in the last two years. 
  • Almost nine out of ten (89%) nurses said that their employer had a lone worker policy in place.
  • Over three quarters (78%) of those whose employers have a lone worker policy had been provided with a copy.
  • One in three (31%) reported having personally experienced harassment or violence from a patient/client or member of their family over the previous 12 months. 
  • Community psychiatric nurses (42%) and health visitors (35%) were most likely to report having experienced harassment or violence from a patient or client.
  • Overall, 16% of nurses working in the community stated that violence or harassment from patients or clients or their family has increased over the last 12 months, with district nurses (23%) most likely to report an increase (RCN 2011).

The RCN concludes "while some progress has made around lone working policies and prevention strategies over the last four years, there is clearly still more to be done".

Read the full report